By Hanna Schlager
On the Shabbos evening of Parashas Bereishis, October 13–14, an enthusiastic and energetic crowd of almost 100 people gathered in a Lawrence home to sing, dance, and speak divrei Torah at the NY NCSY Epic Shabbat oneg. The crowd was made up of public high school students, yeshiva day school students, NCSY advisors and staff, as well as a number of NCSY supporters and Lawrence community members. With zemiros in the air, hot chulent on the table, and a warm community atmosphere all around them, the crowd was able to focus on the two inspiring speakers of the evening—Sabrina Sandler and Adam Freilich, both Jerusalem Ambassadors and recent inductees into NY NCSY’s regional board. Sandler and Freilich, both public high school students, engaged the crowd as they described their life-changing experiences traveling throughout Israel on an NCSY summer program. As the evening came to a close, the participants walked back to their host homes throughout the Lawrence area.
Epic Shabbat is a high-impact program created to harness the energy and excitement that is generated on NCSY summer programs. Each year, NCSY sends hundreds of public school teens to Israel for the summer of a lifetime. When they return, Epic Shabbat is there to provide a comfortable Jewish setting for these participants to reunite with their peers and advisors and to introduce teens to a genuine Shabbos experience in the heart of a vibrant Jewish community.
Arielle Mendelson, a TJJ participant and public school student from Old Bethpage, Long Island commented, “Epic was an incredible experience for me. I met up with old friends and even made many new friends. The hosts were extremely accommodating and I was able to continue to expand my Jewish identity.”
Congregation Shaaray Tefila and the Lawrence Jewish community generously opened their doors to the public school teens for home hospitality and meals. For many of the teens, Epic Shabbat was the first time they experienced the sights, smells, and tastes of Shabbos in a private home. Throughout Shabbos, the teens attended a tefillah workshop, heard an inspirational shiur given by Rabbi Dovid Weinberger, shlita, and participated in an engaging town hall meeting with Rabbi Steven Burg, international director of NCSY, amongst a number of other unique events and programs.
As another successful NY NCSY program came to a close, the teens gathered for a spirited and musical havdalah, which served as the culmination of an incredibly moving Shabbos experience for both teens and supporters alike.
If you would like to get involved in future NY NCSY events, please contact the NY NCSY office at 516-569–6279 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Hanna Schlager